Chapter 2 - History, Culture, and Backcountry Skiing in Norway and Sweden - February 17-March 1, 2019
This is the second of a six part series on Adirondack Hamlets to Huts Senior Advisor Jack Drury's trip to Norway and Sweden this past winter.
Chapter 2 - The Trip to Røros
Sunday February 17 my wife Phyliss drove me down to Saratoga Springs where we met Edie and Bennett. Bennett was playing at the Flurry Dance Festival and Edie was dancing. Edie, Bennett, and I took AMTRAK to Penn Station and then, because of our skis and luggage we decided to take a Lyft to JFK rather than the LIRR. Everything went smoothly and we checked in with two pair of skis (Bennett decided to rent skis in Sweden) and had time for some dinner before our flight. We took Norwegian Air which is worth noting, a discount airline. Great prices, very nice planes, and friendly staff but you want to read the fine print. Everything costs extra, food, checked luggage (make sure your bag is no more than 20Kg). We had arranged for checked luggage and our skis ahead of time so everything went smoothly. Our flight also went smoothly and we arrived in Oslo on time and had no trouble with customs. I did get a chuckle when I told the customs agent that I was going to Røros he said, “you’re going to the coldest community in the country.” It sounded a bit like my home town of Saranac Lake, NY, which is regularly listed on the morning news shows as the coldest community in the nation .
Getting to the train was easy as it left right from the airport. We had a somewhat lengthy layover so got both breakfast and lunch along with some postcards to mail home. The train left right on time and there was plenty of room for all our gear. We caught some shut-eye as our trip from the US to Roros was about 30 hours. On the last leg of the trip met a couple of women with which we had extended conversations. One woman had her incredibly well behaved herding dog with her. The other was from the Congo and had quite an adventure emigrating to Norway with her children. We tend to think that all the European trains run perfectly and U.S. trains are terrible but our AMTRAK train was on time while our Norwegian train broke down during the last portion of our trip to Røros. We ended up having to be towed to our station by another train. As a result we didn’t arrive until midnight and got a taxi to our Airbnb home on the edge of town and a 15 minute walk to the festival’s activities.
This is a six part series on Adirondack Hamlets to Huts Senior Advisor Jack Drury's trip to Norway and Sweden this past winter. A chapter will be posted each day for the coming week.
Chapter 1 - Origin
My cousin Edie Konesni, a retired PA (Physician Assistant) on Islesboro, Maine and her son Bennett a talented musician as well as garlic farmer living in Belfast, Maine visited us at Thanksgiving and planted the seeds of a possible trip to Norway. The idea was to attend a community festival and take in Norwegian folk music and dance, passions of Edie and Bennett, and then ski hut to hut for four or five days. The hut-to-hut experience would be great research for my work with Adirondack Hamlets to Huts in developing “hut-to-hut” routes in the Adirondack Park of New York. Round-trip flights looked very reasonable at well under $500. The challenge was to find dates that would work for us all and get me back in time for maple syrup season as I operate a small sugarbush and mother nature determines when the sap runs.
I felt the need to be back by the first of March and Edie and Bennett were willing to work around that date. Bennett was keen to attend the Rørosmartnan or market festival in the town of Røros, a small former copper mining community of 5,600 located midway up Norway along the border with Sweden. Bennett is a student of Norwegian folk fiddle music and hoped to find fellow fiddlers to play with. Edie is an accomplished folk dancer and was looking forward to finding opportunities to learn some Norwegian folk dances.
The trip to Røros came together quickly as the market festival started February 19 and we wanted to see the opening ceremonies. So we planned a February 17 departure date from New York with a day to travel from Oslo to Røros by train. We purchased one-way tickets and started researching hut-to-hut options in the area.
As we started our research it was clear that there were lots of “huts” in the area but a number of things emerged. We were early for the typical ski season because it was still usually pretty frigid until mid-March and second, many of the huts didn’t even open until then. A Swedish friend of Bennett’s suggested we look on the Swedish side of the border and all of a sudden more opportunities started to come into focus. I studied an online topo map of Sweden along with the location of fjällstations or mountain stations (lodgings) and after considerable study came up with a possible route. After all my research it turns out I had stumbled onto one of the most popular hiking routes in central Sweden called the Jämtland Triangle, Jämtland being the region or state we were traveling in. I also stumbled on to the Swedish Tourism Association’s website which I thought was a government agency. It wasn’t until we got to Sweden and stayed in their “huts” that I realized it was, as they described it, “An association of committed people who seek discoveries off the beaten track, deeper into the forests, and higher up the mountain.” They operate nearly 300 lodgings ranging from hotels, to hostels, mountain stations, and mountain cabins. Edie made reservations for us to stay at three different fjällstations including a night at the same one the first and last night of our trip and a layover day at the second lodging. We were set! There were some minor train connections to arrange but we had a good plan and were excited to have a trip that included a rich cultural/historical experience in Røros, Norway and an adventurous hut-to-hut cross-country ski experience in Jämtland, Sweden. Edie and I arranged to fly home from Östersund, Sweden via London to Boston where she would fly to Augusta, ME and I would fly to Saranac Lake, NY. Bennett was to stay in Sweden for further adventures.
Read Part 2 of this series HERE.
Adirondack Hamlets to Huts is soliciting proposals for the creation and implementation of a marketing plan that will outline the Adirondack Park-wide advertising and marketing efforts needed to successfully promote the hamlet-to-hut initiative. The amount of funding available for the creation of the Marketing Plan is $7,500 plus a required 25% match of $2,500.00 in donated time and/or services. Additional funding is available for implementation of the marketing plan. A final budget for implementation will be determined once the plan has been completed. You can download the Request for Proposal below.
Questions Received to date include the following:
1. Is the $7,500 in funds available that's referenced, along with the 25% in-kind donation, for creating the marketing plan only, with additional funding available for implementation of marketing plan components? Yes, $7500 and in-kind donation is for the plan only.
2. If yes to the above question, is there a threshold on funding potentially available for implementation of services? At the moment we have $37,000 for implementation of the plan. We see that as getting us started and needing to raise more funds as we move forward.
3. Is there an expectation that proposed costs for implementation of both existing and additional marketing and promotion activities be included in the response to the RFP, or should the response only include the cost of creating the marketing plan? As much detail as can be provided regarding the cost of implementation would be extremely helpful. We will make the final decisions regarding how various components of the plan will be prioritized for implementation.
Oh yes, and you can still donate to our end of the year fundraising campaign HERE.
Sam Demas who is webmaster of www.h2h.info and an independent researcher focusing on environmentally sensitive food and shelter systems for long distance human-powered travelers. He is the editor, and at this point, the primary researcher and writer for h2h
He penned a nice article on taking part in our first pilot trip last May. You can find the article HERE.
It's a reality! If you are northbound on the Northville-Placid Trial (NPT), you can now hike directly into the village of Long Lake without having to walk along the highway. This new trail, which was a joint effort between Adirondack Hamlets to Huts, Hamilton County, the Town of Long Lake, the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, and the NYS Department of State allows hikers who want, to come into the village to pick up supplies, get a hot shower, cold drink, hot meal, and a soft night's bed.
If your goal is to avoid civilization you can still follow the NPT and avoid the village entirely. The best of both worlds!
We’re at it again!
As many of you know we ran our first “pilot” trip this past May to rave revues. (see a video HERE) We’re ready to do another one! Come join Adirondack Hamlets to Huts (AHH) a fall pilot test run of the Historic Great Camp Traverse and provide us with important feedback. The Historic Great Camp Traverse is primarily a paddling excursion that includes a short hike up a scenic mountain on the first full day and an optional mountain bike ride the fourth day. This trip includes a night’s stay at the Hedges on Blue Mountain Lake and the Great Camp Sagamore. It also includes a dinner cruise on Raquette Lake aboard the W.W. Durant and tours of both Camp Pine Knot, the first Adirondack great camp, and Great Camp Sagamore!
This Historic Great Camp Traverse will run from the evening of September 20th through the morning of September 25th.
You can register HERE.
Evan Williams and Eric Adsit of Pure Adirondacks created a wonderful video of our May guided trip. Take a look.
The New York State Department of State funded Adirondack Community-based Trails & Lodging System project has released a list of conceptual hut-to-hut routes with maps and descriptions. They can be found HERE. The complete report will be available sometime in early January.